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Merton's Correspondence with:

Sr. Elaine Michael Bane, O.S.F.; Sr. Elaine Bane, O.S.F.

Bane, Elaine Michael, Sr., O.S.F.  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1962-1968, 1972-1973
Volume: 42 item(s); 62 pg(s)

Scope and Content

In this group of letters, Merton and Bane discuss the training of novices for the cloistered life, monastic renewal, and proposed reform to community life in light of Vatican II; the foundation of an audio tape library for Merton recordings; and a retreat for contemplative orders conducted by Merton. In his journals, Merton has many glowing words about the retreat and the quality of the participants (see also references in "Related Information"). Herein are many original typed and signed letters from Bane and carbon copies of letters from Merton.


Sr. Elaine Michael Bane was in charge of a group of six Franciscan Sisters from Allegany, New York, in "ritiro", or living a cloistered life of contemplation.

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See also: Cold War Letter #91 and other selected letters from Merton, published in The School of Charity, pp. 144-146, 296-297, 339-340, 352-353, 357, and 366; and a reference to the retreat with Sr. Elaine Michael in The Other Side of the Mountain, pp. 20-21.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1962/06/11 TLS to Merton About a year ago, the Superior of the Maryknoll Cloistered Sisters sent me a copy of your notes on Merton's notes on Monastic Orientation / Transformation in Christ by von Hildebrand / Mystical Body and role of contemplative / establishing a Ritiro in the Order «detailed view»
2. 1962/07/04 (#01) transcript from Merton This is not an adequate letter, but I do want to get some kind of reply into the mail for you, as [Cold War Letter #19] the "retire" / von Hildebrand's Transformation in Christ and Defense of Purity / marriage and celibacy / books on monastic life and solitary life / Bouyer - The Meaning of the Monastic Life and Introduction to Spirituality / Jean Danielou / Gorres - Hidden Face «detailed view»
3. 1962/07/04 (#02) transcript from Merton This is not an adequate letter, but I do want to get some kind of reply into the mail for you, as [Cold War Letter #19] the "retire" / von Hildebrand's Transformation in Christ and Defense of Purity / marriage and celibacy / books on monastic life and solitary life / Bouyer - The Meaning of the Monastic Life and Introduction to Spirituality / Jean Danielou / Gorres - Hidden Face «detailed view»
4. 1964/12/26 TL[c] from Merton I am sorry to have left your letter unanswered for so long. I am always glad to hear from you and could give occasional advice via mail / Franciscan solitude - retiro «detailed view»
5. 1965/12/14 TLS to Merton I haven't been acknowledging your kindness in the articles which you send us from time to time for "The Climate of Monastic Prayer" / rumors about Merton living as a hermit «detailed view»
6. 1965/12/24 TL[c] from Merton It is Christmas Eve and the afternoon is free, so I have taken time to get a few letters in the mail hermitage / rumors / "The Climate of Monastic Prayer" / contemplative vocation «detailed view»
7. 1966/04/20 TLS to Merton Please forgive the intrusion and unusual request. There is a small group of religious from asking Merton to conduct retreat on contemplative renewal «detailed view»
8. 1966/05/02 TL[c] from Merton Many thanks for your letter of April 20 and for your invitation to preach a retreat, in exceptional contemplative renewal retreat / Archbishop Paul Philippe, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Religious «detailed view»
9. 1966/05/10 TLS to Merton God bless you, Father, for your genuine Christianity! I'm sure you couldn't possibly realize the Mother Angelica, P.C. / Fr. Paul Boyle, C.P. from St. Meinrad / Archbishop Flahiff's letter to Mother Angelica / Archbishop Philippe / permission for retreat / "Climate of Monastic Prayer" «detailed view»
10. 1966/07/23 (#01) TLS to Merton I am taking advantage of your offer to be of service to us. Uniquely, you can be of great service. Norms enclosed by Mother Angelica and Fr. Paul Boyle «detailed view»
11. 1966/07/23 (#02) other   GENERAL NORMS FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF CONTEMPLATIVE COMMUNITIES [attached to the 1966/07/23 letter] «detailed view»
12. 1966/08/09 TL[c] from Merton I have been meaning to answer your letter, and I am sorry to discover that today, August 9, is the critique of the Norms from previous letter / Merton's bursitis / hermitage / a second Gethsemani hermit / article on Franciscan hermits «detailed view»
13. 1966/11/26 TLS to Merton May the Lord give you his peace! Thank you for the most recent materials you sent. All of us September meeting cancelled and complaint sent about the Association [of contemplatives] / Fr. Boyle called to Washington by Apostolic Delegation «detailed view»
14. 1967/07/17 TLS to Merton Thank you for the last envelope of literature which you sent. It is always deeply appreciated and [attachment: Horarium for St. Elizabeth's Motherhouse] "Identity Crisis" article by Merton / Sacred Science course at St. Bonaventure University / Association ended / Retiro «detailed view»
15. 1967/07/31 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your kind letter of the 17th. I will ask someone to send on some more copies of Identity the Association's break-up / offers to make audio tapes and recommends a tape library for her Retiro / Sr. Mary Luke Tobin of Loretto (Nerinx, KY) / hermitage / current events - violence and civil war in the cities «detailed view»
16. 1967/08/09 TLS to Merton Your letter was a very pleasant surprise, Father. Thank you. We read and discussed your article: Merton's article "Openness and Cloister" / the Association / taped conferences on prayer and the missionary vocation / Fr. George Flannagan, O.F.M., a clinical psychologist / value of "Matins at midnight" «detailed view»
17. 1967/08/14 TL[x] from Merton Thanks for your recent letter. I have contacted Sister Luke at Loretto in the hope that they can [from one folder from the "New Directions Publishing" papers at Harvard, entitled "Letters (carbons) to various people, 1967"] «detailed view»
18. 1967/08/20 TLS to Merton Thank you for your wonderful letter. It meant a lot, and the promise of a remembrance in your renewal in contemplative communities / on Merton not being allowed to do retreat / tape library and weekly newsletter / how to turn inward and find true self in God / Divine Office / Bread in the Wilderness «detailed view»
19. 1967/09/17? TALS to Merton May the Lord give you His peace! Thank you for the enclosed typescripts which we enjoyed and [dated the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis] plans for retreat with Merton / distinctions between active and contemplative life - misuse of designations / definition of monasticism / tape on prayer «detailed view»
20. 1967/09/20 TL[c] from Merton The tape is on its way to you, but a roundabout way as I am having someone transcribe it for me. I plans for retreat / tape center / choral obligation / Archbishop of Louisville supportive of contemplatives / Sr. Mary Luke Tobin «detailed view»
21. 1967/09/30 TLS to Merton Thank you very much for the tape which came a few days ago. We have heard the first side - Message tape center and Friar's "Tape-of-the-Month Club" as model / transcribing tapes / retreat plans and choice of representatives of different houses and orders «detailed view»
22. 1967/10/03 TL[c] from Merton About the "Message of Contemplatives" tape: it would probably be wiser and more discrete not to "Message of Contemplatives" tape not to circulate one side / abbatial election / date for retreat - which communities should be invited «detailed view»
23. 1967/10/05 TL[c] from Merton Once more, about the date. Let me try to get down to something more definite. Today I discussed dates for retreat in December «detailed view»
24. 1967/10/10 TLS to Merton Just a note to thank you for your recent letters and let you know that I am working on the project. December 5th for retreat / tapes of conference / "external signs of a... solid edifice" in communities, but "crumbling foundation" «detailed view»
25. 1967/10/25 TLS to Merton The tape came last Saturday and it is excellent. Thank you very much, Father, I know this is taking 15 contemplative communities to receive tapes / details of who can and cannot attend retreat «detailed view»
26. 1967/11/06 TL[c] from Merton I have checked about the guesthouse facilities and it will be all right if some or all of the retreat details / taping the retreat / Sr. Mary Luke Tobin at Loretto - an American observer at Vatican II and close to Cardinal Suenens «detailed view»
27. 1967/11/10 TLS to Merton It was good to hear from you. I think everything is pretty well underway now. Enclosed are the agenda for retreat / meetings with Sr. Mary Luke Tobin and visiting Loretto / "cloister mystique" / lists sisters who can attend «detailed view»
28. 1967/11/14 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for the letter and the points for discussion. Some of them are really first rate. All are for retreat: "basic question of ends and means" / what would one do if not a religious and why / literary rights for taped materials - establishment of Merton Legacy Trust «detailed view»
29. 1967/11/17 TALS to Merton You'll be relieved when all this correspondence lets up a bit. A few complications have set in! lists sisters and orders than can attend retreat or that had to cancel / asks about guest house arrangements «detailed view»
30. 1967/12/09 TLS to Merton Just a brief and most sincere thank-you right now. It was a great week. Right now the whole apologizing for wording on check / sending Merton a "plexiglass pall" / Sr. Mary Luke sent tapes for Fr. Dan Walsh's lectures «detailed view»
31. 1967/12/17? TLS to Merton May you have a truly blessed Christmas. The tape came yesterday but I have only heard a little of [dated Gaudete Sunday] reactions to tape of the retreat/conference / circulating tape to others at conference and questions of whether it should go to others «detailed view»
32. 1967/12/21 TL[c] from Merton Thanks so much for the two letters. I have just a moment to answer quickly. Snowed under with mail whether to circulate tape of retreat / Dom James sees retreat as annual affair / Leo Gannon / article in NCR - Colman McCarthy / active-contemplative division «detailed view»
33. 1967/12/no TALS to Merton We wish you the blessing of this holy season and pray that all of us may grow in the vital activity [circular letter to sisters with a handwritten note to Merton on verso of the last page] «detailed view»
34. 1968/02/16 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for the list of the people who are getting the tapes. In a while I hope to send you a rather tape on "Cargo Movements" / small meeting for May / brief resume of the tapes from December / Louisville Carmel «detailed view»
35. 1968/02/19 TLS to Merton Thank you for your letter and invitation to the meeting on May 27th to 30th. I would be delighted plans for May meeting / question about whether to circulate retreat tapes «detailed view»
36. 1968/03/19 TL[c] to Merton Plans are shaping up pretty well for the small meeting at the end of May. We have seven in all, small May meeting plans / "Cargo Cults" tape «detailed view»
37. 1968/08/18 TLS to Merton How have you been? We have thought of you often and the influence you have had on our lives. Last trip to Norton's farm / Sr. Regina Catherine elected new superior general / trip to Brazil / how to start a "spirituality program" «detailed view»
38. 1972/09/16 TLS to Center from Bane, Elaine Thank you for your letters of inquiry regarding my correspondence with the late Thomas Merton. Also «detailed view»
39. 1972/10/02 (#01) TL[c] from Center to Bane, Elaine Thank you for your recent response to our request for Merton correspondence that you might have. I «detailed view»
40. 1972/10/02 (#02) TAL[c] from Center to Bane, Elaine I have a copy of Mr. Bailey's letter to you of October second, explaining to you that I am the «detailed view»
41. 1972/12/04 TALS[x] from Center to Bane, Elaine I will start off by asking your overlooking the errors, and hastily typed letter. I came over to «detailed view»
42. 1973/01/08 TALS to Center from Bane, Elaine Thank you for your very cordial letter of December 4th regarding my correspondence with Thomas «detailed view»

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